We are still dreaming of and working on the escape, but we've reached an unexpected speed bump. It seems silly to even type the words, but this issue has a grip on my security gland and I don't know how to explain it: The problem is - I don't know if I really want to sell our house.
Hold 'em or fold 'em, honey
When we bought this land and later built our home, I thought we would stay here forever. We chose a plan with a master bedroom on the main floor so one day - when we're really old - we won't have to climb stairs to go to bed. Such was my line of thinking, anyway.
Now, we are in a position where - absent a stellar offer on The Book and a hefty advance to finish it, or another unexpected windfall - we need to sell our house to facilitate the escape. We have reached a point where we must decide whether we're serious enough to cash in our chips, as it were. Or not. This is it.
Before now, in the back of my mind, even after the escape plan was established and wholeheartedly accepted, I always imagined - somehow - we would keep our family home and maybe rent it out or have some of our kids (there are six of them, after all) live in it and keep it up while we were basking in the (minimalist Bohemian) winter Caribbean sun. I imagined travelling back to our family home from time to time to play with our as-yet-unborn grand-babies and have late-night Christmas cookie-making sleepovers (don't judge).
Now I have to decide whether to give up those fantastic dreams in favor of the escape plan. Sure, we can still visit the grown-up kids and their future offspring if we sell the family home. But we'll have a hard time making cookies in Mimi's hotel room.
So this is where the proverbial rubber meets the road
If we're going to sell, we need to start getting the house ready and finding the needle-in-a-haystack buyer. We have five (six in a pinch) bedrooms / four bathrooms, two dens and two garages on three levels at the end of a two-mile dirt road in East Bumble. Then there's the attached farm and amphitheater, complete with a new stage and electricity because we thought it would be fun to have concerts on the farm. (And it is.)
|The amphitheater stage under construction last year|
How many folks are looking for this kind of house in this particular area? What if we can't find a buyer? We need to sell the house for its actual value - not a fire sale price - in order to pay everything off. If we can't sell high enough to pay off our debts, there's no point selling at all.
Maybe my fears are ridiculous and shallow, I admit it, but I have been paralyzed by them.
Facing my fears
So, what's the problem? My family didn't have much when I was growing up. In my mind, we were poor. (Since then, I've seen real poverty and now I realize how rich we were.) But the child is the father of the man, or mother of the woman in my case, and feelings ingrained in childhood are hard to overcome.
My fear of being essentially homeless undoubtedly stems - at least in part - from the fact that my childhood home was of the mobile variety. I'm not talking about one of those cute little retirement-style trailers. It had corrugated metal siding and homemade steps.
|Not this one, but close if you take away the fancy pergola and flamingo.|
It may have been nice when it was new, but ours gradually fell apart - as trailers are wont to do - during my childhood, adolescence and teen years. (I bolted at 17 to go to college out of state.)
I clearly remember my unschooled, divorced mother struggling to provide our basic necessities via minimum wage jobs. We somehow always had enough to eat and plenty of love and affection, but rarely had new clothes and never the latest fashion trends or gadgets, or even air conditioning in south Florida. I know, cry me a river, right? I didn't say my feelings were rational.
... And the what-ifs
Another big fear is regret. What if we lose our way? What if we end up hating our new lives? What if we end up homeless?? The negatives are out there - unexpected snags will crop up along the way. Hopefully there won't be anything major, but I worry that the negatives could pile up and outweigh the positives.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right? Should we just stay put and fertilize our own yard? Once we cash in and check out, there won't be any do-overs. Our house will belong to someone else.
I am alone in this decision
My husband is, as I've written before more than once, exceptional. He is not bound to the need for security in hearth and home, but says he is ready to sell it all and chase our dreams. I believe him when he says he doesn't care where home is - as long as I'm there with him - and the less time we are required to spend apart each day, the better. He also doesn't mind if we scrap the escape plan altogether and stay put. He'll even cheerfully put off retirement so we can keep making the payments.
There's a flip side to having a spouse who is completely committed to the escape plan - I get to own this reluctance to cash in all by myself. There's no room to blame it on someone else. (Dammit.)
Where does all this rambling lead? After much deliberation and thoroughly sifting out what doesn't matter from what does matter, I vote we sell. I am willing to engage in and perpetuate the sacred circuit - to give up that which is precious to me in hopes of making something even better.
The fact is, I would give my man the world if it were mine to give, but far more importantly, I trust him. In my brain and in my heart I know it doesn't really matter where or what home is - as long as we're together. If he says it's okay to close our eyes and jump, that's what I'll do.
The next post will be the beginning of telling it all.